:— No to gun law
Police officers in Strathclyde have a 50 per cent chance of being attacked — the highest in Britain — according to consultants carrying out a current public inquiry. But while Strathclyde Police now have more guns ready for use than ever before. Chief Constable Leslie Sharp is still against his force being armed.
‘lt is totally unacceptable for unarmed police officers to have to face such daily risks while simply carrying out their duties.‘ he said. ‘We should keep it in perspective. however; we are nowhere near the level of violence against police that they have in America.‘ In 1992.487 Strathclyde policemen were assaulted with weapons. three were stabbed and one was shot at.
In recent years. the number of officers trained to use guns and the sophistication of the weaponry have increased so that everything from
handguns to semi-automatics is available. Knife-resistant vests. just introduced by the British Transport Police. are being tried out for six months by the Strathclyde force. while a modern handcuff. which allows extra leverage in the restraining of suspects. is being piloted. The introduction of American-style night sticks and other batons is also being considered depending on tests carried out by other forces.
‘lt is certainly more dangerous for policemen now than ever before.’ continued Chief Constable Sharp. "l’hat has not affected morale. but we do get annoyed when ordinary people don't condemn violence against us. We provide a service for them. What we are looking for really is public support. The moment you lose that support. that is when you will have armed police officers.‘ (Stewart Kirkpatrick)
Seven years on, Scottish farms are still paying the price of the explosion of reactor Number Four at the Chernobyl Power Station on 26 April 1986. The accident poisoned 3.5 million hectares of Ukrainian arable land and the effects of the radiation from it are still coming to light with increased rates of thyroid cancer among children in Kiev. In Scotland, 54 farms continue to be under Scottish Office restrictions on selling sheep as a result of the radiation cloud that spread across Northern Europe.
‘We have not learned anything from Chernobyl,’ claims Duncan McCabe of The Green Party. ‘The old Eastern Bloc is full of nuclear disasters waiting to happen. There was an explosion at a plant near Tomsk a few days ago. In the West we are still obsessed with
atomic energy when we should be concentrating on renewable sources of energy and helping the countries of the former Soviet Union to use these rather than their old, not very safe, nuclear power stations.’ He added that it was ironic that Scottish Nuclear was wanting to build another reactor at Nunterston when Scotland was already producing more electricity than it needed.
The anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster is being marked by an exhibition at Edinburgh’s City Art Centre. Chernobyl: The Legacy, which runs until 22 May, touches on the lack of information made available after the blast and the devastating effect that silence had on the protection of the public. For further details, see Art listings. (Stewart Kirkpatrick)
March for jobs
Two groups of ten marchers are about to set out on a 900-mile route across the length and breadth of Scotland to highlight the problems of the country‘s unemployed. Beginning on Saturday 24 April. one group will take the high road from Thurso. the other the low road from Stranraer. before meeting up in Edinburgh on Friday l4 May for a lobby of the Scottish Conservative Party Conference and an evening concert and rally.
Titled the ‘Scottish People’s March for Jobs and Democracy'. the march aims to: demonstrate solidarity of Scotland's employed and unemployed; publicise the Scottish One Fund For All (which raises funds for Unemployed Workers Centres); pressurise the government into taking urgent action on unemployment; and win support for the STUC's programme of economic recovery and job creation. including the role which a Scottish Parliament could
play. These issues will be raised along the way by means of impromptu street meetings and larger public events each evening.
The marchers themselves range from STUC Deputy General Secretary Bill Spiers and Scotland United organiser Gordon McDougall to various unemployed Scots from as far afield as lrvine and Iilgin. Key points on the Northern Route include lnverness on Friday 30 April. Aberdeen on Wednesday 5 May, and Stirling on Thursday 11 May; the Southern Route takes in Kilmarnock and Ayr on Sunday 2 May. Clydebank and Paisley on Friday 7 May and Glasgow on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 May. lixact details of times and stop-off points in between — including areas where jobs are currently under threat, such as Rosyth and Leyland Daf Albion in Glasgow — will appear in local newspapers. (AM)
The renowned Scotia bar in Glasgow’s Stockwell Street - ‘at least 200 years old in 1992’ - celebrates its indeterminate anniversary with a special edition of The Scotia Folk, a community magazine of opinion, poetry and writing. The publication first surfaced in the creatively fertile 1960s, but now goes under the name of The Scotia Folk and The Clutha Clipe to mark The Scotia’s twinning with the nearby Clutha Vaults. It also heralds the launch of the Stockwell Village Festival, an unofficial promotion of the many unrecognised strands of activity in the area.
‘The Clydeside is the only riverside area that isn’t the central focus of leisure in a city,’ claims Scotia proprietor Brendan McLaughlin. ‘No matter where you go in the world, you’ll see loads of restaurants and pubs, people take walks down there and it’s lit up - except in Glasgow. Here it’s almost a no-go area when it
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could be beautiful. The infrastructure’s already there. There are 40-odd pubs in the area and quite a few restaurants and they’re all thriving. We’re trying to create a public dialogue, get people together to profile the area and it’ll ascend from its quietness and darkness.’
Central to the riverside area is The Scotia, reinstated over the last five years to its unassailable status as writers’ retreat and musical magnet. ‘Traditlonally you leave your work, family, moral and social baggage at the door of a pub to go in for a drink in a male-dominated degenerate den,’ says McLaughlin. ‘We say, “Don’t leave your songs on the doorstep, bring them and your thoughts inside.” I believe a public house is more than a drinks parlour - it’s part of the social fabric. in a lot of pubs there’s a disjunction between private and public life. There isn’t in The Scotia.’ (Fiona Shepherd)
Rehab centre to expand
()ne of the first obstacles faced by those working on drug and alcohol rehabilitation projects is that women often don't seek help for fear that their children will be taken away from them. Not so with the Niddrie-based Brenda House Project. an Aberlour Childcare Trust Project that provides a residential facilitv for families while the mother is recovering from alcohol or drug problems.
About three years ago. the women involved in the project, which is unique in the east of Scotland. defined the requirements that would be needed in the future. At the moment. it is housed in a block of six flats (accommodating six women and up to twelve children) with adjoining offices. playroom and counselling room. The Extended Care Project proposals, carried out in partnership with Barony Housing Association. would move Brenda House to a newly acquired property off Niddrie Mains Drive. with a day centre
alongside and ‘supported' liatsjust beyond. providing 'respite‘ and 'relapse' care. However. a sum of £200,000 must he raised before work goes ahead. and to this end a Crusaid Benefit Concert at lidinburgh's Royal Lyceum Theatre will start the financial ball rolling. 'Varietous Women‘, hosted by Sheena Macdonald. will feature leading ladies from across the Scottish arts spectrum. including Dorothy Paul. Liz Lochhead. Blythe Duff. Alison Peebles and Carol Laula.
‘The Project works on the basis that the women themselves bring a lot of strength and capabilities to it.’ says Senior Manager Joy Barlow. ‘In terms of politics and society. they've got very little going for them. but personally they tap into their own resources. The project deals with a range of issues. not just dependency — it looks at parenting. childcare. abusive relationships and all the difficulties that women face in actually having self-esteem and their own place in today‘s society.‘ (AM)
‘Varietous Wumen' take to the stage at the Royal [.yr‘etmi Theatre, Edinburgh. on Sun 25 April at 7.45pm. 7iekets
priced £5-fl5 available from the box
4 The List 23 April—6 May 1993